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The Motherwell-Hogan family, ca. 1918. Clockwise from left: Marion Hogan, John C. Hogan, Margaret Motherwell, R.B. Motherwell II, Katherine Hogan, Robert Motherwell, and Mary Motherwell.

The Motherwell family moves frequently, following the demands of his father's job with the Federal Reserve Bank: to Seattle in 1918, San Francisco in 1919, Salt Lake City in 1920, and Los Angeles in 1925 before returning to San Francisco in 1927. The family spends every summer in Cohasset Beach in Westport, Washington, where his maternal grandfather has a summer cottage.